SFL First Division: AYR UNITED 0 DUNFERMLINE 3: 04/12/99
A NEW BEGINNING
New manager Jimmy Calderwood guided his side down the A77 for his first match in charge. The new man, returned from exile in Holland, was delighted with the win and the performance. Post match he was quoted as saying “ I think you saw today that we can play a bit. We knocked the ball about well and in fact, the only time we were troubled was when we gave the ball away. But when we scored before the break, it killed the game and I think we deserved to win.”
Calderwood elected to start with the same line up as had disposed of Clydebank the previous Saturday. The only changes were in the choice of substitutes where David Moss and Chris McGroarty were joined by Steven Hampshire. Ayr were looking for their first win in eight matches. The St Johnstone sponsors Renault parked outside the ground meant that on loan 33 year old, Roddy Grant led the Ayr attack in a side that showed eight changes from the team that faced the Pars at East End Park earlier in the season.
Dunfermline started with the 500 or so away support in the covered enclosure behind Ian Westwater’s goal. Immediately the Pars were parked in the Ayr half but their early pressure saw only shots well wide of the target. The fans were patient and strangely quiet in the process. Occasionally the squak of the seagulls in the clear blue sky above was all that could be heard.
There was no danger of the fans being fuelled by the lukewarm pies from the Ayr pie shack, but Hamish French’s nod down to Jamie Dolan was a welcome warmer. With 35 minutes gone Stewart Petrie tested the keeper with a low shot which was well saved. Next the Ayr defence froze about 30 yards out and Steve CRAWFORD siezed the ball to drive into the Ayr net.
With 44 minutes on the clock Crawford and Coyle played two delightful 1-2 s before Coyle released a great ball for Hamish FRENCH to fire into the goals. The supremacy was underlined by the two goal lead although the game had not been full of goalmouth chances. Ayr had troubled Westie only once and the visitors had given Ayr a lesson in finishing.
So often this season it has been a different attitude Pars who emerged for the second half but clearly Calderwood has something that others lacked as he managed to keep the motivation going. On the hour a pass back trundled past the Ayr post and 5 minutes later Petrie met a cross and just stuck the ball over the crossbar from close in.
A Petrie corner almost produced a goal for Brian Reid, next a Scott Thomson cross was saved from Crawford. But the goal did then come when Scott Thomson cut in from the right and shot a fierce effort at goal, the keeper’s save rebounded out to Hamish FRENCH who despatched the ball into the net for his second of the day.
This was a much better performance from Dunfermline. OK, Ayr were understrength with 7 or 8 players unavailable but Dunfermline were totally in command and played competent football without any of the high balls up the park that the pundits would like to label us with. A new era has dawned at East End Park and exciting times are ahead for the Pars fans.
DUNFERMLINE: Westwater; May (McGroarty 70), Tod, Skinner, Reid, Thomson; French (Moss 82), Dolan; Crawford, Coyle (Hampshire 79), Petrie.
Scorers: Crawford (40), French (44, 75)
Yellow Cards: Brian Reid (45)
Referee M Clark (Edinburgh)
League Position 2nd
Strip: Yellow (away)
Next match v Greenock Morton (away) League Saturday 11th December 1999
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